NEW YORK — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo escaped prosecution for allegedly inappropriately touching a female state trooper who worked on his security detail — even though the Nassau County District Attorney handling the case found the trooper’s accusations to be “credible” and “deeply troubling.” “Our exhaustive investigation found the allegations credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal under New York law,” acting Nassau County DA Joyce Smith said in a written statement. “It is important to note that our investigation was limited to alleged conduct at Belmont Racetrack, and prosecutor...
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A 'mistake': GOP strategists warn party’s latest battle cry sends conflicting message as midterms approach
Republican leaders and lawmakers wasted no time voicing their concerns and disapproval of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) search at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. In fact, some have even gone so far as to call for the FBI to be defunded.
Now, there are concerns about how their rhetoric could be sending a conflicting message to Republican voters. Speaking to Axios, multiple Republican strategists have weighed in with their take on the situation.
Alex Conant, a founding partner and Republican strategist at Firehouse Strategies, warned that lawmakers and candidates need to be careful about alienating pro-law enforcement voters.
"Crime has been a winning issue for Republicans, and they need to be careful not to jeopardize that," Conant told Axios.
Ken Spain, a founding partner for Narrative Strategies and former Republican campaign official, also warned the anti-FBI rhetoric "might score political points in the handful of remaining GOP primaries, but it will serve as a textbook case study in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the general election.”
Republicans' latest attack on the FBI follows their criticism of progressive calls to "defund the police," a slogan they previously used to their advantage to "attack Democrats."Democratic operatives have warned lawmakers to steer clear of anti-law enforcement rhetoric ahead of the midterm elections," Axios notes.
As longstanding critics of the "defund the police" movement, there are concerns about how the hypocrisy could backfire on Republicans in the long run. National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesperson Michael McAdams told Axios, "Every voter knows Democrats are the party of defund the police. Americans are experiencing record violent crime as a direct of Democrats’ efforts to vilify law enforcement and push pro-criminal policies like cashless bail," said McAdams.
Some Republican lawmakers have even expressed concern about calls to defund the FBI. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told Axios: "The Republican message should not be 'defund the FBI,' I think [it's a] mistake."
Axios also notes that some Trump-aligned Republicans in key battleground states have expressed apprehension about the political shift against law enforcement.
The New York Times is reporting that two former White House lawyers to President Donald Trump spoke with the FBI about the classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago post-presidency.
Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin both spoke to investigators about their experiences trying to get the government documents back to the National Archives, according to the new report.
A report on Monday night revealed Philbin, in particular, worked to get the documents. However, they quoted Trump ranting: "It's not theirs, it's mine," advisers told the Times.
Ultimately, Trump did allow 15 boxes to be turned over to the National Archives, with staff taking a truck to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve the documents.
"At that point, at least one Trump lawyer signed a statement saying material with the classified markings had been returned, according to four people familiar with the document," the report continued. "But officials then used a subpoena to obtain surveillance footage of the hallway outside a storage room at Mar-a-Lago and saw something that alarmed them. They also received information from at least one witness who indicated that more material might remain at the residence, people familiar with the investigation said."
Speaking to MSNBC on Tuesday, Andrew Weissmann, former Justice Department prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team explained the significance of the new report.
"I think it is important for people to know that both those gentlemen were two of seven people who President Trump designated on Jan. 19, 2021, two days before his presidency was over, as his representatives in terms of dealing with presidential records," said Weissmann.
"I think this is part of the reason that you saw in the search warrant the reference to section 1519 of the criminal statute," he continued. "That is an obstruction statute. And that is the kind of thing that the department could have been very focused on false statements and false representations being made to them that everything had been returned. Only to find, in the search, that that was not true. And that kind of crime, I can tell you when I was in the department, that is the kind of crime that really gets people in the department up in arms. It goes to undermining the integrity of the criminal investigation. And that's the kind of thing that has to be deterred if you're in this case, in any case, if you're going to actually have a rule of law."
Former California Democratic Rep. T.J. Cox has been arrested by the FBI on 28 counts related to financial fraud, Politico reports.
Cox was charged with “15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institution fraud, and one count of campaign contribution fraud.”
According to the Department of Justice, Cox perpetrated multiple fraud schemes targeting companies he was affiliated with and their clients and vendors. Cox allegedly created unauthorized off-the-books bank accounts and diverted client and company money into those accounts through false representations, pretenses and promises.
Prosecutors accused Cox of illicitly obtaining over $1.7 million in diverted client payments and company loans and investments he solicited and then stole.
If convicted, Cox faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for wire fraud and money laundering, according to the Justice Department.
Cox came to Congress in 2018 but was voted out in 2020, losing to California Republican Rep. David Valadao.